Funeral service is regulated at both the national and state levels. At the federal level, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides for price disclosure and consumer protection through the "Funeral Rule". Some of the primary consumer rights that the Funeral Rule ensures are:
Upon request, you will be provided funeral price information over the telephone.
You will receive a copy of the funeral home’s General Price List, for your retention, when making an in-person inquiry about funeral products and/or funeral services.
You will receive an itemized "Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected" once all of your selections have been completed at the conclusion of the funeral arrangement conference.
Bill of Rights for Funeral Preplanning
Laws regulating funeral service are state specific. There is usually a state-level agency that regulates the activities of funeral establishments and funeral directors. Questions regarding the practice of funeral service in your state or a particular state law may be directed to your funeral director or to the appropriate state agency.
Preplanning a funeral can offer family members peace of mind, as well as the opportunity to plan a meaningful funeral that reflects the unique life of the individual. Meeting with a local NFDA member funeral director is a good way to ensure you have all of the information you need to make informed decisions, and that your wishes are carried out.
Before making any decisions on preplanning funeral options, prefunding funeral goods and services, or signing a preneed funeral contract, we urge you to ask any and all questions you may have regarding the planning process.
An ethical and reputable NFDA funeral home will ensure the following rights and protections:
Provide you with detailed price lists of goods and services before you make your selections.
Provide to you, at the conclusion of the funeral arrangement conference, a written statement listing all of the goods and services you have purchased and the price.
Give you a written preneed funeral contract explaining, in plain language, your rights and obligations.
Guarantee in the contract that if any of the goods or services you have selected are not available at the time of need, goods and services of equal or greater value will be substituted at no extra cost.
Explain in the contract the geographical boundaries of the funeral home’s service area and under what circumstances you can transfer the preneed contract to another funeral home if you were to relocate, or if the death were to occur outside of the service area.
State in the contract where and how much of the funds you pay will be deposited until the funeral is provided.
Explain in the contract who will be responsible for paying taxes on any income or interest generated by the preneed funds that are invested.
Inform you in the contract whether, and to what extent, the funeral home will guarantee the price of goods and services you are purchasing. If the prices are not guaranteed, the contract will explain who is responsible for any additional amounts that may be due at the time of the funeral.
Explain in the contract whether and under what circumstances you may cancel your preneed contract and how much of the funds you paid will be refunded.